Moalboal - The Philippines' Hidden Gem
With such a rapid incline in tourism in The Philippines, lots of different areas across the 7,000islands have ofcourse benefited which has helped develop the area. In my opinion unlike El Nido, which I feel has become too touristy, the locals have now got a little tired with the amount of tourists on a constant basis and is now more of an assembly line than giving that unique experience about the area, Moalboal's locals and the town have not lost this aspect. There is such a good feel about the town which you don't get in El Nido, the locals are happy and smiley and lots of kids playing in the streets.
MOALBOAL Moalboal town is on the West Coast of the island of Cebu and is about a 2.5hour bus ride from Cebu City. If you are landing in Cebu City I would highly recommend that you get the Cerus Bus from the South Terminal Bus station straight from the airport instead of wasting your time in the city. The majority of all South East Asian smaller cities are all the same and in my view not very nice. The Cerus bus casts around £1.80 or 130P in Filipino money which is crazy cheap. Im sure if you want to get there a little quicker and don't mind spending a little more money you can get a taxi or mini van service straight from the airport but why not try the local bus.
There are 2 main parts of Moalboal; you have the town, which has the state highway running through it, this is where you will be dropped on when you arrive from the bus, and the 2nd is Panagsama beach which is about a 5-10min tricycle from the town.
THE TOWN Moalboal town has the bigger hotels, 2 malls, McDonald's, 7eleven, Julie's Bakeshop, ATM's and the fruit markets. Everything that you need in a town really. If you haven't tried Julie's Bakeshop, GET YOURSELF THERE NOW!! The best bakery in the world in my eyes. It is a small chain mainly on Cebu island that has so many different choices of baked confectioneries all for 5-10P and so amazing. My personal favourite was the cinnamon buns, at 5P I would get maybe 5/6 at a time, certainly not good for wanting those wash board abs for those beach body shots but once tasting these you won't care. Also another little tip, if you are craving a good coffee, 7eleven's selection of takeaway coffee are so much better than what you'd get in a cafe, our favourite was the French Vanilla, and at 27P an absolute bargain.
PANAGSAMA BEACH This area was probably our top place in the whole of The Philippines for so many reasons. Firstly, the main attraction at Panagsama Beach is The Sardine run, I choose this as my Number 1 thing to do in my Top 10 things to tick off in The Philippines. A moment where we both actually felt like we were David Attenborough and on film location for a new Blue Planet series. Millions upon millions of a sardines literally 5m off the shore in huge armies, all completely synchronised in their movements together. Secondly there so many good bars and restaurants along the beach with such a good vibe, there's enough for whatever type of mood you are in. Chilly bar gets quite lively at night but before that there are so many bars to go and chill and have a few bars, and there is a good amount of people not too busy and not too quite!!
From Moalboal you can also get to one of the most famous waterfalls in the world and possibly one of the main attractions in the whole of The Philippines, Kawasan Falls. The falls are famous for its out of this world turquoise blue cascading waterfalls and Bamboo Rafts. Ofcourse wherever yo go in the world they are so many tour agencies to do any attractions, personally I prefer to do as much as possible by myself and you can certainly do Kawasan Falls without any tour. Simply hire yourself a Moped at 400-600P per day (~£4-£6) and drive 30mins south from Moalboal to the falls. Like everywhere in The Philippines there is an entrance fee at 40P (50p), which is nothing for what you are about to witness. Before you go though do not expect this to be a one to one experience with the falls, this is a very popular destination for tourists but also for locals and you will see why.
The food in Moalboal is so good, such a variety and probably the cheapest rate in the whole of The Philippines too. The typical Filipino dish of Pancit Canton will only cost you around 160P (£1.50) and beer with that is only 60P (50p), crazy cheap really.
Our favourite place to eat during out stay was actually on Panagsama beach and at German restaurant. Throughout Philippines we pretty much ate the local food the whole for a number of reasons; 1. of course its cheaper than your imported western food, 2. It tastes so much better than western food and 3. We've found from experience that due to the local not knowing sometimes out to cook Western food, this is where in the past we have become ill. When we arrived back to Moalboal we were craving some Western food and went to this German restaurant called Blue Abyss and went back to the next 2 days as it was so nice.
- Sardine Run
- Swimming with Turtles
- Kawasan Falls
- Relaxing and chilling on the beach